National EPSCoR conference taking place on the Big Island next month

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Date: Friday, October 12, 2007
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Approximately 350 of the nation’s top research scientists, policy makers, and university administrators will gather on the Big Island for the 20th National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR Conference, November 6-9, 2007 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. The theme of this year’s conference is “EPSCoR Leadership for Scientific Innovation, Collaboration and Enculturation.”

EPSCoR, or the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, seeks to improve the research competitiveness of eligible jurisdictions by augmenting the research infrastructure in key scientific and engineering disciplines that are relevant to the jurisdictions and are of national importance. This year’s conference will bring together all 27 EPSCoR jurisdictions to showcase their science, outreach, and educational/cultural enrichment activities.

The event is hosted by IMUA (Investing in Multidisciplinary University Activities) NSF Hawai`i EPSCoR, which makes up the State’s EPSCoR members, including the University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Hawai`i’s community colleges and the state of Hawai`i.

"IMUA reflects our belief that EPSCoR funding is an investment in the future of Hawai`i that will enable us to move purposely toward a strong future,” said UH Hilo EPSCoR Project Administrator Terrilani Chong.

Hosting the conference is expected to boost Hawai`i’s scientific profile. It also marks a personal achievement for UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng, whose leadership helped Hawai`i gain entry into the EPSCoR Program in 2001.

“Playing host to this national meeting is an acknowledgement of how well we’ve done since joining EPSCoR,” said Tseng. “At the same time, it’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone from Hawai`i interested in scientific research to network with top scientists, learn about the latest cutting edge research and find out how they can compete for funding for various projects.”

EPSCoR has been credited with significantly enhancing research programs at UH Hilo, while advancing the training of graduate and undergraduate students. The project was instrumental in establishing the graduate program in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Sciences (TCBES), in addition to core teaching and research facilities in genetics, ecology and cyber infrastructure, while enhancing the collaboration among faculty and with federal and state agencies in Hawai`i.

Directors of each NSF Directorate will address the Conference to highlight major activities within their Directorates and explore ways in which EPSCoR jurisdictions can participate in them. Dr. Donald Price, EPSCoR co-project director and associate professor of biology and chair, TCBES program, is looking forward to showcasing UH Hilo’s integration of research and education in the areas of Ecology, Evolution, Genetics and Cyberinfrastructure.

“The Hawaiian Islands are a remarkable living laboratory,” Price said. “UH Hilo is emerging as a campus with the faculty, students and research facilities to investigate the rich and variable environments and adaptation of unique organisms that are found nowhere else on Earth.”

The opening session will feature a welcoming reception and keynote address by FilmWorks Pacific Founder and CEO Edgy Lee. The main portion of the conference will consist of several panel discussions on November 7 and 8. Topics will include:

• Building Science Policy Capacity at the State Level
• Venture Philanthropy & Private Sector Partnerships
for Science Education and Research
• Mainstreaming Outreach Opportunities in EPSCoR States
• Linking the Science, Technology, and Engineering
Strategy with Targeted Use of Cyberinfrastructure
• Increasing Diversity in STEM Research and Education
• Incorporating Evaluation into RII Projects
• Using Communication Effectively to Tell the Story of
Methods and Results

Keynoting the November 7th session will be Dr. Kathie Olsen, deputy director of the National Science Foundation, who will address EPSCoR’s move to the Director’s Office along with current and future trends within the Foundation. A poster reception will feature Dr. Barbara Bruno and Dr. Paul Kemp of the Center for Microbial Oceanography – Research and Education (C-MORE) discussing the competitive process at NSF. The November 8th session will feature an address by Dr. Fred McKenzie, who will speak on global climate change. Attendees will also hear speeches on Hawai`i’s Innovation Initiative from Lieutenant Governor James “Duke” Aiona, while U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye will speak on “Being Competitive.”

The November 9th session will largely focus on business meetings of the jurisdictional Project Directors and Administrators.

For more information about EPSCoR, please call Terri Chong at (808) 933-3325 or email admepscr@hawaii.edu. For information about conference registration or other logistical information, please call Judith Fox-Goldstein at (808) 974-7555. Programmatic and logistical details are available at www.epscor07.com.


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